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Granada surprise Barcelona

Granad surprise
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Today, Spanish Football’s Barcelona FC lost to hosts Granada 0-1 in a critical La Liga match at Los Carmenes stadium. The Catalans are in the race for the La Liga title, standing second to Atletico Madrid, and just ahead of Real Madrid. Granada are fighting relegation, and were equally motivated not to cede ground. The loss boosts the hosts’ chances to remain in first division and leaves room for Real to make up ground.

Playing with Sergio Busquets and Alex Song in defense due to the injuries to Gerard Pique and nicks to countless others, the Catalan Giants, smarting from their recent Champions League ousting at the feet of their domestic rivals Atletico, were not in full swing. The hosts were taking the game to their better rivals simply because Barcelona was off.

At the 16th minute Yacine Brahimi received a perfect through pass that broke the visitor’s off sides trap and boomed home a right to left shot that found the back of the net before Jose Pinto could react. The early goal had its effect and though Braca went on the attack full-throttle Granada had the defensive answer to every offensive foray.

Meanwhile another incredible performance by Javier Mascherano maintained his top spot among the most unsportsmanlike players on the planet. At the 21st minute he outright kicked Youssef El-Arabi on an in-the-box play that flattened the Granada striker. The foul, a clear penalty went uncalled.

At the 37th minute Mascherano grabbed El-Arabi’s arm and pulled him down and wide of the cross coming in at the striker. The ball flew by without further incident and Mascherano, having committed his second penalty of the half, walked off unsanctioned.

On two different occasions, Chilean defender, Manuel Iturra, knocked Neymar to the ground and on the third the Brazilian rose to confront him only to receive hard shoulder to the chest for his trouble. After the medics restored the striker to action, in the very next play, Iturra returned to his rough play and by then Neymar, who had vehemently complained to the ref, simply struck out at the next player to play rough with him. His subsequent kick out cost him a yellow when none of his accosters went sanctioned.

By the 60th minute Barcelona had 80% of possession and was not closer to scoring despite many chances.

At the 62nd minute a great Cesc Fabregas shot forced Granada’s Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnesis to a last grasp save at the lower left of the goal.

At the 65th Lionel Messi argued with the ref and received a yellow card. A minute later Busquets got one for arguing too. Barcelona are losing their cool.

At the 68th minute Mascherano took a dive at the sideline when pursuing a ball in competition with El-Arabi. The called foul, which did not exist, effectively stopped a rare Granada counter attack.

At the 73rd minute Barcelona coach, Tata Martino, replaced Busquets with Alexis Sanchez in a desperate attempt to find the one extra offensive piece that might help pierce the fierce Granada defense.

At the 82nd minute Barcelona had taken 24 shots on goal without a score. At that time Granada’s only score on frame had been a goal.

The game ended as the second half began with countless fruitless Barca attacks stymied by great Granada defense. A well-deserved victory for the hosts.

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